There is good news for working fathers. The President
announced the amendments regarding paternity and other leave types on 23
November 2018 which, among others, state that in future fathers would be
entitled to 10 days’ paternity leave when a child is born. The amendments to
paternity leave also provide for adoption leave for one of the parents of an
adopted child under the age of two years, as well as surrogate leave with
better unemployment insurance and maternity benefits.
How did it work
An employee who would normally not qualify for
maternity leave, will now be able to enjoy these benefits. Before the
implementation of these amendments, fathers were entitled to three days’ family
responsibility leave, and any further leave grant was determined by company
policy or was granted at the discretion of management.
What are the
The minimum requirement for paternity leave, as explained
in the amendments, is 10 days’ unpaid leave. During this 10-day period,
compensation may be claimed from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. It will not
be the employer’s responsibility to pay for paternity leave.
What must my
employer do to implement the new amendments?
Employment contracts will have to be amended to
provide for paternity and other leave which is now covered by the law. A new
leave policy will also have to written.
What must I do
to apply for paternity leave?
You will be expected to notify your employer as soon
as is reasonably possible when the leave will commence and also when service
will be resumed. Employers will have to amend their leave application forms to
adhere to the law. Unemployment compensation can be claimed for this period.
May the employer
refuse my paternity leave?
Paternity leave is an employee’s right in terms of the
law and therefore, it cannot be refused within reason. However, we recommend
that you notify your employer well in advance. As soon as the employee knows the
date of birth, the employer can be notified immediately.
Where do I claim
paternity leave compensation?
You can approach the Department of Labour with the
applicable documentation to claim from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
When will the
amendment bill regarding paternity leave be implemented?
The amendment bill
has taken fully effective as of 1 January 2019